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West Houston Market on the Road to Recovery

Energy Realty just hosted the first annual Energy Corridor International Festival last weekend to help remind residents and local businesses why the Energy Corridor is a great place to live, work, and play. Overall, the festival was a great success as many local businesses came out and shared their food, culture, services and product on a beautiful sunny day, and the live performances and DJ created a lively atmosphere.

                This was a grass roots effort pulled together by myself and other volunteers, Amy Dukes of Energy Corridor Living Magazine and Barbara Denson, author of the Gary the Go-Cart series. As residents of the Energy Corridor, we have seen businesses and neighborhoods hit hard by first the downturn of the oil industry and second by Hurricane Harvey, and we want to revive this community again. Our hope is that this annual event will continue to grow every year and become as popular as White Linen Nights in the Heights.

                While driving through the neighborhoods that were hit hard by the release of the reservoir in 2017, I am happy to see that the neighborhoods have come back to life and are beautiful and pristine again for the most part.  As a result, the home sales in these neighborhoods and the Energy Corridor have picked up again, although the market still remains saturated with a 9 month supply of inventory.

                We are finding that in order to compete in a market full of remodeled flood homes that are often priced below pre-flood value, homeowners have to update and freshen their homes to sell, even if they did not flood. In 77077, there are 294 single family homes on the market;  205 in 77079; and 1147 homes for sale in Katy! That’s a lot of homes to choose from, so buyers can be picky right now.

                As the memory of Harvey slowly fades away and the neighborhoods look better than ever, the desire to live in the Energy Corridor will far outweigh the risks of flooding and this area will come back stronger than ever! At the same time, as oil prices continue to stabilize in the $60’s and are predicted to go up to $70/barrel in a year, the empty office spaces will start filling up again, and home values should follow this trend.

                There are great things happening in West Houston and I am excited to be in the middle of it!

The first quarter of 2019 flew by, and it seemed to fly especially fast, as our office has seen more activity than we had in the last 2 years!  Our office just closed 97 transactions in 3 months. If the trend continues for the rest of this year, all indicators are that our real estate market is bouncing back from a 3 year downturn. It’s about time Houston!

                Following a mini crash at the end of 2018, oil prices are rebounding again and staying in a profitable range of $60 per barrel, so we are also seeing more relocation activity than we have seen in the last 3 years.  However, according to members of the Houston Relocation Network Group that we are part of, relocation clients are increasingly moving towards a home purchase rather than a lease. This could cause the higher end rental market to stay stagnant or continue to drop if the trend continues.

                I am happy to report that we continue to Lease homes that are in new and updated condition, but I would approach this market with caution and not only insure that rental properties are in good condition, but also make sure they are priced well.

                While activity is picking up, we still have a lot of inventory due to a slow 2018, so we are still in Buyer’s market with over 6 months supply of inventory. Prices may continue to drop as homes that have been on the market for a long time struggle to find the right buyer, and the demand for remodeled homes that are ready to move in will continue to be higher than the fixer upper.

                The silver lining behind Harvey is that flooded homes are being remodeled to look like new, but this will be tough competition for the homes that did not remodel because not only are the homes like new, they are also priced lower.

                It is a great time to purchase a home with lots of inventory and lower interest rates. Please read the article below about mortage rates dropping to the lowest rate in a year.

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